The southbound queue of loaded and backhaul trucks heading out of Zimbabwe to South Africa is again being snagged by bottlenecking at the Beitbridge Border Post.
This morning a transporter requested a clearing agent based in Musina to assist with the Zim-side backup that is stretching for several kilometres.
He said he had arrived at the queue yesterday at 11:05 and had only managed to do 3.8 kilometres by the time he requested assistance at 09:24 this morning.
The driver in question only managed to sleep for two hours in a order to protect his position in the queue and prevent other trucks from jumping the line.
Mike Fitzmaurice of the Federation of East and Southern African Road Transport Associations (Fesarta) expressed his dismay over the situation when Freight News spoke to him earlier.
Coming not too long after Beitbridge experienced severe northbound traffic congestion for more than three weeks during October and November, Fesarta’s chief executive has reason to be dissatisfied with what seems like lacklustre attempts to keep the border clear.
“We’re not having much luck with what’s happening at the moment,” he said.
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), he added, “says there’s a large number of trucks building up north of the border and they’re doing everything in their power to control things”.
He also emphasised that the SA Revenue Service (Sars) had stated that there were no processing issues south of the border.
“In the meantime it’s back to square one for transporters getting through the border.”
According to Fitzmaurice it would help if Zimra “simply pushed empties through.
“They should really have a queue for cargo and another for trucks not carrying anything.”
Instead, thorough security checks of everything, even backhaul trucks that can easily be screened, are being applied to prevent any goods from being smuggled out of Zimbabwe.
Besides Zimra’s explanation that an inordinate number of trucks are currently heading south, it’s not really clear exactly what lies at the root of the bottlenecking.
“We’ve asked for a resolution as to why traffic is so slow,” Fitzmaurice said.